Risks and Injuries Associated With Surgical Staplers
Surgical staplers are used in gastrointestinal surgeries across the country. In fact, they have been in use for over half a century. However, over 92,000 of them have been recalled recently due to documented evidence of their causing significant injuries and death.
Injuries linked to surgical staplers include internal organ damage, uncontrolled internal bleeding, and infection, all potentially life-threatening.
Dangers of Surgical Staples
It’s clear that the use of surgical staples can present dangers to patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) data indicates that over 41,000 adverse event (AE) reports were received between 2011 and the end of March 2018. In it, there are 32,000 reports of surgical staplers malfunctioning, and 9,000 serious injuries to patients caused by surgical staplers. Over 350 fatalities have been reported.
Even more disturbingly, those reports don’t include more than 56,000 reports submitted to the FDA in the same time frame. These reports only became public knowledge when Kaiser Health News reported on their existence.
As a result of the Kaiser Health News report, the FDA announced that it will be reviewing surgical stapler safety.
What Types of Injuries Occur With Surgical Staplers?
Surgical staplers are used to close incisions and wounds, rather than sutures.
However, malfunctions, improper use, and defects in the design have apparently caused numerous patients to suffer injuries and complications after surgery. These can be long-term, permanent, or even require additional surgery and ongoing treatment to rectify.
Injuries associated with surgical staples include:
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Fistula (abnormal connection between organs and blood vessels)
The AEs indicate that the most frequent malfunctions are:
- Misfiring or difficulty in firing
- Failure to fire staples
- Using the incorrect staple for a given surgery
- Leaks in the staple line (the wound or incision closure)
- Staple malformation
What Can Affected Patients Do?
Affected patients and their loved ones (if a patient has died) do have recourse. If you suffered an injury or complication due to issues with surgical staples, you can seek compensation for damages from the manufacturers via a legal claim.
Surgical staplers are manufactured by Ethicon (a division of Johnson & Johnson), 3M Corporation, Covidien, Stryker Medical, Tyco Medical Group, and U.S. Surgical.
Possible compensation for damages include:
- Medical treatment costs, both past and prospective
- Loss of wages from work caused by the injury/complication, both past and prospective
- Loss of earning capacity, if the person’s ability to work is affected, both past and prospective
- Pain and suffering, both physical and mental
- Funeral expenses if the patient died
- Punitive damages, if appropriate.
If You Need an Experienced Law Firm
Questions about whether you are eligible to file a surgical stapler lawsuit? If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered complications from the use of surgical staples, by any manufacturer, call Chaffin Luhana today. We are experienced in product liability law as it applies to surgical staples, and are dedicated to fighting for the rights of patients who have been victimized by defective medical products.
We will review your case at no cost to you. If we take your case, you owe us no money upfront and no fees unless we win money on your behalf. Trust in our sterling track record of success: Our attorneys have recovered $1 billion and counting for their clients.